Author Health, a startup focused on serving Medicare Advantage members, received $115 million in funding from investors General Atlantic and Flare Capital Partners, the company said Wednesday.
Author provides telehealth and in-person care for Medicare Advantage members with serious mental illness and substance use disorders. The company began operations in 2022 and signed Humana as its first customer. Earlier this year, it began providing services to the insurer’s CenterWell Senior Primary Care clinics in Florida.
With the $115 million, the company plans to add new markets, hire clinical team members and continue to develop its technology platform that helps clinicians manage the patient population, said CEO Dr. Katherine Hobbs. It also will look to add other payers next year who serve Medicare Advantage and Special Needs Plan members, she said.
Hobbs, who previously was the CEO of Optum Behavioral Care, said she joined the company because she was excited to build something designed for the many patients older than age 50 who have a serious mental health issue and lack access to care.
“As the Medicare population grows, this is a growing problem with a major issue around treatment,” Hobbs said. “As a result of that lack of access to care, this patient population has very poor health. Their indicators for diabetes and cardiovascular disease are poor. And if you’re a health insurance company, the costs are high.”
The company offers therapy, medication prescription and care management support around social drivers of health. It employs physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and care managers, who work with the primary care clinicians to refer patients to Author.
Telehealth will be a vital part of the company’s growth, Hobbs said.
“That’s how we can overcome workforce shortages, and serve hard-to-reach patient populations," she said. "People in rural communities that are traditionally underserved, we can now reach them by using telehealth.”
Funding for digital health companies has been slow in 2023 but deal-making has picked up of late. Last week, Aledade achieved unicorn status through a $260 million funding round and care access platform DexCare closed a $75 million Series C equity funding round.